How Do Solar Ovens Work?

Ever wonder how do solar ovens work? I have wondered myself given that I live in Phoenix Arizona where we have over 300 days of sunshine a year. We get even more than the sunshine state of Florida. Only Denver, CO gets more sunshine per year than Phoenix in the United States. So it would make sense to use one here. I could save money on my energy bills and help stop global warming as well. If you are looking for ways to save money and make a difference for the environment, a solar oven might just be what you are looking for.

How Do Solar Ovens Work?
Most solar ovens work on simple principles. Sunlight is converted into heat energy that is then converted into cooking energy. Think of sunlight as a fuel. Sunlight does have energy and that energy is harnessed into an energy that can be used for cooking food. A solar cooker will need an outdoor location that will be sunny for a few hours. It must be safe from wind and also would be a place that the food would be safe as well. You do not want any critters getting into your dinner. Solar cookers do not work at night. No sun, no cook.

Convert The Sun Into Heat Energy
Light surfaces as less prone to attracting light and therefore heat. Dark surfaces on the other hand get very hot when they are placed in the sun. Dark surfaces attract more light and more heat. When cooking it is best to use darker colored pots and pans. Black would be the best for solar cooking.

How Does A Solar Oven Retain Heat?
A clear heat trap around the dark pot lets the sunlight in but it also keeps the heat in. Just think of a box with a glass top. The light energy can come in, but it gets trapped once it is inside the box. A solar oven has reflective material pointing at the cooking pot for increased heat potential.

Three Main Types Of Solar Cookers
The most common types of solar ovens are panel cookers, curved concentrators and heat trap boxes. Just so you know, there are hundreds of other designs out there but these are the most common in the world. Solar cookers are not just for individuals. There have been solar ovens that have been designed to meet institutional needs around the globe.

Curved Concentrator Solar Cookers
Also known as parabolic, curved concentrator solar ovens cook fast at high temperatures. One of the draw backs with them is that they need constant adjustment and supervision to maintain optimal cooking conditions. Remember that you need to follow the sun with a solar cooker. The majority of these types of solar ovens are in China. There are over several hundred thousand units in existence in China. They are most useful for large scale institutional cooking needs.

Box Solar Cookers Very Popular
Solar Box Ovens cook at moderate to high temperatures and can handle multiple cooking pots at once. This is the most popular style of solar cooker on the planet. The majority of these ovens would be found in India. The are very portable and easy to set up and maintain.

Panel Solar Oven – Cookit
Panel solar ovens are unique in that they incorporate elements of both a parabolic and box ovens. They are very simple and inexpensive to manufacture and buy. Solar Cookers International produces the Cookit. It is the most common and used solar oven in the world.
If we all used a solar oven just once a week, it would make a big difference on reducing our carbon footprint. In fact, it doesn’t just have to be solar ovens, it can be driving an alternative fuel car, or installing a solar hot water heater, or even converting your home to solar power. Small changes can make a big difference in the plan to reduce carbon emissions which cause global warming.